Walter Herman PunkeDecember 26, 1934 ~ July 11, 2017 (age 82)
Walter Herman Punke, 82, peacefully passed away surrounded by family on Tuesday, July 11, 2017.
Born in Rahway, New Jersey on December 26, 1934, Walter was the only child of the late Walter Ludwig Punke and Emma Punke (nee Furrer).
He graduated from Rahway High School in 1953, having played football for their undefeated 1951 team. Walter then went on to play as a Villanova Wildcat during his years at the University before dropping out to pursue the life of a professional artist – a passion he continued until his death.
Walter also proudly served his country, spending six years in the United States Army and the National Guard, before working as a salesman for Huffman Koos in Rahway for 35 years.
In 1958, Walter wed Florence Marie Punke (nee Lesko), and the two remained married for 59 years.
When he wasn’t busy painting landscapes and portraits, Walter could be found along the banks of the Beaverkill River with a fishing rod in his hand and a beer in the other. He once told a reporter, “I don’t always remember people’s names, but I can sure remember the first fish I ever caught. There’s something unbelievable about the emotions of fly-fishing. After years at it, I still get the shakes when I’m getting ready to go.”
Walter’s love of fly-fishing led him to join the Trout Unlimited organization, where he had the honor of serving as president of the Central Jersey chapter for two years during the 1990s. He was a proud member of that chapter for 18 years and taught fly-tying for four decades.
The son of German immigrants, Walter, along with his wife, was a member of the Deutscher Club in Clark, New Jersey for 26 years. They also spent 30 summers at Twin Islands Campground in Roscoe, New York with many other families they were blessed to call their friends.
The pain of Walter’s passing is eased by knowing he lived a long and wonderful life, spent with countless friends and a loving family.
Walter is survived by his wife, Florence, his daughter Susan Marie Punke, his grandson Jesse Punke Pollack (Ann), granddaughter Heather Marie Donnell (Billy), granddaughter Zoe Michelle Punke, and two great-grandsons he loved very much, John Francis Walter Pollack and Murphy Jameson Donnell.
A memorial service is being planned for the Fall. In lieu of flowers, Walter’s family asks that donations to the American Heart Association be made in his name. Condolences may be sent via: www.pippinfuneralhome.com.